Exercise can be hard, and it takes time out of the day. Is leisurely exercise, with real benefits, even possible? It is with jogging.
The American College of Sports Medicine's position statement on exercise recommends that all healthy adults train three to five times per week, with 20-60 minutes of continuous or intermittent aerobic activity. This should involve large muscle groups and be rhythmical and aerobic in nature.
Not as fast-paced or as hard on the knees as running and involving more exertion than walking, jogging is like running at a tamer and more personal pace. As an aerobic exercise, it allows the chance to enjoy scenery, with cardiovascular benefits that affect the heart, lungs, muscles and bones, according to University of Iowa Health Care.
An activity with a lot of benefits and no equipment necessary is a winner in the exercise books. But how do you get started? With an easy pace.
"Don't be afraid to walk," says Mark Bransky, a Los Angeles-based personal trainer. According to Bransky, some people are intimidated by exercise and may feel they need to go all out all of the time. This only tires out people and discourages them from more training. "Intersperse jogging with walking," Bransky says.
An example of a great routine to get started with jogging is to walk for four minutes and jog for one minute. Repeat this process, eventually adding another minute to jogging and maybe even taking away a minute from walking.
Standing straight without too much overarching helps you avoid hip pain, according to JogNRun.com. Also, keeping your eyes forward as much as possible helps with your posture. Lifting your front knee and extending your back leg stretches your leg muscles.
A good pair of shoes also makes jogging a more enjoyable experience while helping save knees from wear and tear. Pay careful attention to the kind of shoes you wear, because regular tennis shoes just won't make the race.
"Shoes should not be flat-footed," Bransky says. "They should have arch and ankle support." Pick a pair that fits well and feels comfortable.
The location for jogging also can help with physical safety and turn up the workout. Bransky advises jogging on soft surfaces, such as grass or hard sand, for a better jog that's also nice to knees. On the flipside, make sure to avoid dark areas. Besides personal safety, a person jogging in dark areas is more prone to tripping and not seeing things.
Motivation is always an important factor in getting out of bed or making it outside for exercise after work. Sometimes the health benefits just aren't enough motivation when a bed feels so comfortable or there's already too much to do in a day.
"Just do it," Bransky says. "Whenever you're tired, do something active." As opposed to not exercising, go for a jog when you're feeling tired. It soon will become second nature if it at least starts out with a walk.
Finding an enjoyable trail that has great scenery or leads to a favorite shop can also motivate someone to get outside. If there's a useful goal in mind, then it isn't hard to add a little jog.
Joining or starting a jogging group is also a great way to keep motivated. The Jogging Turtles are an example of some women who wanted to get off the couch and found partners make excellent motivation. The group grew, and so did the number of races in which the women eventually participated. Searching online for jogging groups through places such as Meetup.com or starting a new one is easy, and all it takes is a desire to get started.
Remember to warm up and stretch before beginning to exercise, and breathe throughout. Bransky suggests seeking a fitness professional for advice, especially for beginners and those with any injuries. Get cleared by a doctor if there are any concerns, and take it easy.
There isn't a hurry when it comes to jogging. Make sure to enjoy the scenery. It's an activity that can be fit in during a lunch break or after dinner. The sky is the limit when you only need a pair of running shoes and a trail to start an active lifestyle.